Spiritual growth is a never-ending, on-going, unceasing task. You will never arrive at a place in your relationship with God when you are finished growing.
You and I have more growing to do. We have not arrived.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
There is no end to the depth of God. There is much more of God’s likeness for us to become. Therefore we need to be committed to studying the Bible.
We study God’s word not only for information but for transformation.
Transformation is vital because #1 it is evidence of our relationship with God.
Have you met people who say they are a Christian, but they sound more like a sailor? (No offense if you’re a sailor.) Grace assists us in becoming like Christ not remaining as we are.
#2 Transformation is vital because God measures you not by what you are today but as His transforming work is making you become. Be committed to spiritual growth and transformation.
There have been moments in my walk with God when it has felt like there was little to no progress at all, if you feel like that, don’t quit, don’t give up. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:6
In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 the Apostle Paul answers another question about Jesus’ return. Their question was not motivated by doubt of His return but an anxiousness regarding His return.
He says in verse two, “For you yourselves are fully aware…” In other words, We’ve been over this before. He continues that “the seasons and times, you have no need to know.”
When the disciples asked Jesus, He said, “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” Matthew 24:36 Paul isn’t withholding the answer from them, he didn’t know.
The church does not need to know “when” Jesus will return, they need to be ready for His return. Paul gives two illustrations regarding Christ return.
#1 He will return like a thief in the night.
A thief does not inform you he is coming. He picks a time when you’re not looking and shows up. Live with the anticipation that this could be the day. If He returns, be ready. Our preparedness is a godly lifestyle.
#2 A woman in labor.
I’ve had the awesome experience of seeing all three of my boys born into the world. My wife had the more awesome experience of carrying and birthing our three boys. But every time, we knew it was coming.
The end game of pregnancy is birth. No one is just pregnant for pregnancy sake. Those 39 weeks and 6 days all lead up to the delivery. So it is with Jesus’ return, it’s unavoidable. Yet, it has been just under 2,000 years since this passage was written, what’s the hold-up? Why the delay?
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 What may appear as slow or delayed is really mercy towards humanity. He doesn’t want anyone to perish.
God’s patience keeps the door of salvation open as long as possible. When His foot hits the ground on His return, the door is shut, the game is over, it’s time for judgment. Until then God is showing the world mercy, that they may repent of sin and be healed of their brokenness.
Paul instructs us to put on the breastplate of faith and love and a helmet of hope of salvation. For a soldier, the breastplate and helmet were two of the most critical pieces of armor. Both protected the soldier from critical points on the body.
Putting on these elements was a call to continued spiritual growth and faith living.
In verse eleven he implores us to use our energy and time to encourage and build up one another. Don’t get caught up with how much time it’s been or how much more it will be. Focus your energy on being ready. Stay alert. Use the time to love, serve, and knowing Jesus and making Him known!